"What I'm saying, however, is that this goal rate doesn't have to be six blocks per hour to prevent so-called "brute force" attacks; provided the clients remain synchronized, it could just as easily be six blocks per *second*. I refer, of course, to a constant rate of six blocks per second since the network was formed, not a sudden 3600x drop in the difficulty from an existing six-blocks-per-hour chain. If there was to be a transition from one rate to the other it would have to be extremely gradual."
The clients could not stay synchronized anywhere near such a rate, and the rate of blocks does directly affect the growth of the total size of the blockchain. The target interval is an arbitrary decision, and one that could be changed with consensus in the future; but if it does change I would guess that it would be reduced from 6 blocks an hour to 4 or 3 per hour. The p2p network is currently very small, but in a future with Bitcoin as much of the online economy as PayPal; the network would likely be bogged down with latency at anything faster than 10 per minute.